Shook up the world of psychical research
At the beginning of 2021, an American businessman shook up the world of psychical research by unexpectedly announcing an essay competition to present the best evidence for proof of life after death. Robert T. Bigelow, property developer and aerospace entrepreneur, offered $1.5 million in prize money to try and answer the question once and for all. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview him shortly after the competition was first announced and talked to him in depth about his goals and motivations for the competition. In conjunction with the SPR’s book project Is There Life After Death?, it feels like there is a real resurgence in research in this subject. With the SPR’s 140th anniversary next year, this could not come at a better time.
Speaking of the 140th anniversary, I want to invite you to send in your thoughts about what the SPR means to you, why you joined it and what you hope to see the Society do in the future, or, indeed, anything else that you wish to say about the Society. Everything from a brief note to an article is welcome. It is a significant landmark to reach for any organization, but particularly one in so contested a field as ours – let us make it special. Get in touch with me directly at magazine[@]spr.ac.uk. I will also be putting out a ‘call for papers’ later in the year.
Following the last commemorative issue for Erlendur Haraldsson, in this issue I have gone for more varied fare. Dr Jan Pilotti takes on Reber and Alcock’s critique of parapsychology by examining the question of the future in physics. Dr John Tate continues his research in ‘paranomics’, looking at how alleged paranormal factors can affect economic well-being. Dr Stanley Krippner presents a short piece on his extensive investigations into the Brazilian psychic Amyr Amiden.
I have also included a lengthy report on the SPR’s last physical Study Day before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all into online meetings. Entitled ‘Making Space for Psi’, organizer Prof. Bernard Carr brought together a wide range of expertise to debate the question, with contributions from Prof. Chris Roe, Dr David Luke, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, Dr Jan Pilotti, Dr Jean-Pierre Jourdan and, of course, from Prof. Bernard Carr himself. Ashley Knibb continues the story with a report on the Society’s next Study Day, the first to be held online, which explored the emerging new paradigm of post-materialism, and online lectures by Prof. Chris French, Dr Dean Radin and Prof. Chris Roe.
During the summer, the SPR welcomed Prof. Adrian Parker as its new President, taking over from Prof. Chris Roe. Readers will know Prof. Parker from his contributions to this magazine, if not from his outstanding reputation. We hope to see more of him in these pages in the future.
Since writing my last editorial, there has been sad news as well, unfortunately. Dr Carlos Alvarado, well known to us all for his prodigious output over the years, succumbed to an aggressive brain tumour on 16 July. Although I never met him in person, I got to know him via email and found him to be both generous and kind in addition to his obvious intellectual gifts. I was lucky to be able to publish some of his work in the magazine: his contribution to our field will be sorely missed. I would like to dedicate this issue to him. ψ
Dr Leo Ruickbie
Editor, The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research
Contents of The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research, 3
The $1,500,000 Question: Is There Proof of an Afterlife?
[Click here to read more about my interview with Robert Bigelow]
Does the Future Exist? Space–Time and Scepticism
A Report on the SPR Study Day ‘Making Space for Psi’
Anomalies in Brasilia: Investigating Amyr Amiden
Haunted Houses and Animal Mutilation: Paranomics, Pt 2
Ashley Knibb Reports on Study Day 79 and Recent Lectures
Ghosts in the Machines: Automatic Writing for the Masses
The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research is a benefit of being a member of the Society for Psychical Research, see spr.ac.uk for more details.